The Tar River District of the East Carolina Council of the Boy Scouts of America held its annual Distinguished Citizen Award dinner at the Rose Hill Conference Center on March 5 to celebrate its fund raising achievements for the year and to recognize Gerald P. Cox, president and CEO of Autumn Corp., as the recipient of its 2013 award.
“The Tar River District anticipates raising over $90,000 to help support programs and projects for the Boy Scouts in Edgecombe and Nash Counties,” Russell Proctor, co-chairman of the event, announced following the dinner.
“What made our evening also special was the salute and recognition we gave to Gerald Cox as our Distinguished Citizen Award recipient,” said Gray Daughtridge, the other co-chairman of the annual Boy Scout program.
Cox was recognized for his accomplishments by long time friends and colleagues. Craig Souza has been President of the N.C. Health Care Facilities Association since 1977. Former N.C. Sen. A.B. Swindell is a longtime friend and was a legislative liaison for Autumn Corp. during his tenure as N.C. Senator. Harold D. Colston also is a longtime friend of Cox and Autumn Corp.’s real estate attorney for many years until his retirement.
“I want to thank Mayo Boddie, Russell Proctor, Reid Parrott, David Farris and Don Williams of the Selection Committee for recognizing me,” Cox said during the evening festivities. “This honor is very special to me and my family and I am truly humbled to be joining so many other distinguished community leaders who have previously been honored with this award.”
A native of Morganton, Cox is a graduate of Kings College in Charlotte and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Executive Program.
He began his career in the long term health care industry as Administrator for the Hawthorne Nursing Facility.
He was then recruited by the late Leon A. Dunn Jr. to join Guardian Corporation in Rocky Mount and he served as the senior vice president in charge of the Guardian Care Nursing Homes for the company.
In 1979 Gerald Cox co-founded the Autumn Corp. with J.R. Garrett. Today he leads a company that operates 25 Autumn Care facilities with 16 in North Carolina and nine in Virginia.
Two new facilities are also under development in Brunswick County and Cornelius.
The nursing home chain is a leader in quality care for both short term rehab and long term care residents in the states of North Carolina and Virginia.
Autumn Corp. has a staff of 3,700 employees and is licensed for 2,800 beds.
Each facility offers residents teams of medical providers including a doctor to oversee medical care as needed, RN/LPNs to assess and administer medications and CNAs to provide help with the activities of daily life.
In addition social workers, pharmacists, physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech language pathologists are available to help facilitate the needs of residents who are being provided short term care services. Autumn Care launched Legacy Consultant Pharmacy in 2003 and now Autumn Rehab offers a variety of therapy programs tailored to meet the specific needs of each of its patients.
Cox also has been actively involved in the development of the Rocky Mount area.
He served on the Nash Community College Board of Trustees for 15 years and was Chairman of the Board for three years during his tenure.
He also is a past member of the Board of Directors of Branch Banking and Trust Co. and the Rocky Mount Chamber of Commerce. In addition he has served as a Director for the Board of Visitors of N.C. Wesleyan College and he is a Past President and former member of the Board of Governors of Benvenue Country Club.
Having served on various boards and commissions for Governors Hunt, Martin, Easley and Perdue, Cox was presented the Long Leaf Pine Award in 2004.
He was also saluted in 1998 as a NorthEastern Entrepreneurial Roundtable Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist.
Cox has also been a leader in the health care industry. He currently serves on the North Carolina Medical Care Commission Board and he is also a past President of the NC Health Care Facilities Association, a past member of the Board of Directors for the American Health Care Association, and a past Director of the Regional Multifacility Committee for the American Health Care Association. He previously served as a member of the North Carolina Penalty Review Committee for the N.C. Department of Human Resources.
Cox also announced during his remarks at the end of the program that Autumn Corporation now funds nursing scholarships at numerous community colleges across North Carolina and has plans to fund scholarships for nursing students at larger universities as well.
Cox and his wife Melia recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
The couple has lived in Rocky Mount since 1971 and Gerald and Melia Cox have four married grown children who live in the area with their families as well.
The Tar River District is comprised of Nash and Edgecombe Counties and is part of the 20-county East Carolina Council of the Boy Scouts of America currently. The Tar River District is staffed with several hundred volunteer scout leaders serving approximately 1800 Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.